Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I started to write about snakes because a column I read about snakes reminded me of the snakes I collected and kept as a child. Then something happened that drove the snakes out of my head. A friend is in a deep depression.

My friend doesn't have a lot of friends and keeps pretty much to himself, cut off from emotional and outside support. His family is nearly all gone; only a few cousins remain. He shares his wife's family because he has none of his own. His friends are important to him, especially the other two musketeers who share his hobbies and his passions. Now he feels alone. One of his friends, a some time bully, has hurt him deeply and reminded him of something in his own past when he hurt someone in the same way. He has fallen into the abyss and cannot get himself out. Work holds no interest for him. He wishes his wife and family would leave him alone. Even his projects no longer fill him with excitement--and he is alone.

Or so he thinks.

His past has come back to bite him in his tender parts. He is reminded of something mean and petty he did to someone who trusted and cared about him. He is in the Slough of Despond.

He needn't be. No one needs to be.

It is doubtful there are more than a handful of people who, at one time or another, have not hurt someone they loved or cared about, betrayed a friend, or been mean and small and petty. We have all made mistakes. That's part of being human. It doesn't mean we need to wallow in our failures and mistakes but it is doubtful we are ready to listen when anyone tells us to forget the past and learn from our mistakes. It's easy to stand outside and tell someone else there's nothing to fear. It's different to be the one inside afflicted with fear of going out into the wide world. It feels nearly impossible that the huge towering sky and the cacophony and clamor of voices and sounds ready to thunder down will pause and give you time to get used to them, trickle in rather than flood your mind and your senses. It's hard to get control when you feel out of control and have no experience with what it feels like to be in control. But someday, some time, some way there will be a moment when you are ready to take that leap of faith and venture out and you needn't be alone. This is for when that time comes for my friend.

Whenever you need to talk, I'm here to listen. Whenever you're ready to venture out again, I'll walk by your side and take your hand. Whenever you need a friend, I'll always be here because I never left.

On the darkest days when the clouds are closing in, the sun still shines; you can count on that. You can also count on the moon coming back to full when it seems to have disappeared from the sky. And you can count on me.

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